Letty Caban

Jul 06, 11 Letty Caban

City you live in:
I love living in the multicultural paradise that is South Florida. It’s never boring— it has a rich culture that always has an art, food or music related event going on. You never know who you’re going to meet next.

I speak English, Spanish and Spanglish, depending on who I’m speaking with. People are always surprised to hear me speak with no accent in either language. I’ll start a sentence en Espanol and finish it in perfect English. The majority of times it’s a sprinkle of los dos since most people living in Florida understand. If not they better ask and I’ll be happy to use sign language or charades, but we’ll figure it out.

Favorite Latin food you can’t live without
This is a tough question because I love to eat and cook. I’ll go with plantanos because of its versatility. I like it prepared in a variety of ways: tostones, sweet platanos dulcemofongo or mangu, en ceviche and even guisao. Tan rico! Siempre cae bien.

What is your Latina contradiction?
It’s strange to see the reaction I get every single time, without fail, to how well spoken I am. Once I commence speaking in perfectly unaccented English I get the famous ‘where are you from’ question. Then I have to explain my world trajectory. Yes, we speak English and Spanish in Chicago, Puerto Rico and Florida.  A friend said she was offended by the assumption that Latinos can’t be accomplished and professional. Latinos being well educated and having successful careers is as normal as breathing air. My belief is if they have never learned, then it’s my duty to educate them.

When you think of Latin culture what are the first words you think of?
I envision the vivid colors of a flamboyan painting, the smooth texture of hand crafted wood and ceramic, the dialogue-like quality of the panderetas beat, and the aromas of foods prepared with cilantro and cumin.
My family keeps our heritage alive through great home cooking. Everyone in my family– my mom, sister, aunts and uncles– have remarkable cooking skills. When we get together, the menu is arroz con gandules, pasteles, lechon azado (on special occasions), arroz con dulce, pastelon, etc. Then of course every family gathering has to have its music. For our family it’s musica jibara de Puerto Rico, aguinaldos, and bomba y plena.

What is your ethnicity? Or where is your family from?
My parents were both born in Puerto Rico, met, and married in Chicago.

Latina? American? Both?
I am the future and the future is now. I’m an American and a Latina Boricua. I’m a member of a huge and growing community that has grown up with the best of both worlds. This is my country. My grandfather, a decorated WWII veteran, fought proudly for the freedom and human rights that our country, the United States of America, stands for. I have it all. My life is rich with culture and limitless influences. The diversity we see now is the building block for bigger ideas and greater accomplishments.

Favorite Latin artist or music?
This is so tough to answer since I enjoy so many different genres but here’s my short list: In Salsa I love La India, Mark Anthony, Frankie Ruiz, Celia Cruz, el Gran Combo and Oscar de Leon. In Reggaeton my favorites are Evy Queen and Calle 13.  I enjoy pop from Pitbull, even flamenco from Diego Cigala y Bebo and I like dancing to merengue and bachata too.

iPhone or BlackBerry?
Neither. I’m on my laptop all day long and use my cell to text and talk.

How do you describe your style?
I embrace my Latina femininity and wear my hair long and curly. I’m most comfortable in a dress. I love wearing dresses, lipstick and perfume but that won’t stop me from wearing my steampunk boots on the only week it gets cold in Florida.

What media in English and/or Spanish do you prefer/consume, as in what magazines, newspapers, TV shows, etc?
I have a huge passion for movies. When I find a great story it’s the same sensation as falling in love. Some of my favorites are: The Orphanage, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and written by Sergio G. Sánchez, the Devils Backbone directed and written by Guillermo del Torro, the Secret in their Eyes, directed by Juan José Campanella, and Belle Epoque, directed by Fernando Trueba and written by Rafael Azcona. I also enjoy going to see live entertainment, such as plays. Most recently I enjoyed the musical, “In the Heights,” with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, adapted from the book written by Quiara Alegría Hudes.

[ethnicity]Puerto Rico[/ethnicity]
[name]Letty Caban[/name]
[description]My life is rich with culture and limitless influences.[/description]

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